Mereseini Marau In New Delhi, India
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Hockey seems to be a family affair for national men's coach Hector Smith Sr. Everyone at home including his wife Seinimili is involved in hockey.
His son and namesake Hector Jr is the national captain, his youngest son Adrian has won accolades for his performance and their mum Seinimili is the team manager.
And they are not the only Smith's in the national camp.
Tai Smith, the development officer for the Fiji Hockey Federation who is also here with the national teams, is Hector Sr's sister.
And then there is Alsace Smith, who is their grand nephew.
Hector Sr was a former national rep.
And he happened to have a strong influence on the choice of his three children's sport.
Seinimili, who only plays social hockey, said the sport had been part of her family for as long as she could remember.
Their oldest daughter Lucretia, son and national captain Hector Jr and nippy Adrian started playing hockey when they were small.
While the two older children only began to play competitive hockey when they went to Suva Grammar secondary school, the youngest and the most outstanding player in the national team for this tournament played for Holy Trinity Anglican School because his school Suva Primary were not involved in hockey back then.
"That's the only sport we play at home and its easy for us because we all go to the same place and at the same time when we go for competitions or trainings,' Seinimili said.
"We support our children in this sport and we are glad that they took to the sport seriously."
Seinimili said they had been looking after the national team for a number of years now.
"Hector was taking the women's team but since our two boys are in the men's team we decided to help the men's team because they didn't have a coach and asked Shaun Corrie to take the women," she said.
The Smiths are offering their services for free.
"We do this for the love of the sport," said the Fiji Hockey Federation treasurer. "Hockey has been part of our family and we are glad that our children followed their dad's footsteps."
All their sacrifices in hockey paid off when the national teams defied all odds to come and play in the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 in New Delhi.
"We qualified after winning the Oceania Pacific Cup, but it was the finances that was the main problem for the teams," she said.
"Because of family matters, Lucretia was not able to come but she was also training for this tournament."
And she said her three grandchildren were showing an interest in the sport too.
Hector Jr said having his dad as coach, mum the manager and his younger brother in the team that represented Fiji a world event was an honour.
This is the first time the national hockey teams have toured to a country apart from Australia and New Zealand and play other high-ranked teams.
Adrian spoke highly of his family support saying it motivated him to play his best.
"I have a lot of support and encouragement from my family and I always value that," he said.
Adrian has tons of respect for his older brother saying he is one of the best hockey players in the world.
"But he doesn't know that," he said.
"I'm proud to have him as our captain, he is the most nicest person I've known and he hardly talks."
The Smiths family are not the only families in this national camp.
Women's coach Shaun Corrie's younger brother Terence is the men's vice captain.
His wife Melba Nautu is the captain of the women's team.
Women's manager Seraphina Mock's son Denzel is also in the team.
And there are sisters goalkeeper Losana Tadu and dual international Soko Salaniqiqi.
The Dutta siblings Leevan and Tiara.
And also assistant manager and former national rep Sainiana Hick's daughter Rita is in the women's team.